Nichola Higgins > Doughty Street Chambers > London, England > Lawyer Profile

Doughty Street Chambers

Work Department


A leading practitioner in the field of financial and corporate crime, Nichola has defended, investigated and prosecuted some of the most complex and challenging allegations of corruption and fraud, both domestic and overseas, in recent years.

Recent instructions include:

  • First junior, since 2015, for Alstom Network UK Ltd, a global engineering company, in a multi-phase SFO prosecution for international corruption: R. v. Alstom Network UK Ltd [2019] EWCA Crim 1318; R. v. A Ltd, [2016] 4 W.L.R. 176;  R. v. AIL [2016] Q.B. 763;

  • Advising a sovereign wealth fund on the merits of a private prosecution (ongoing).
  • Acting for the Serious Fraud Office in a £30 million international “sustainable” investment fraud (ongoing);

  • An internal investigation on behalf of a billion pound hospitality company (ongoing);

  • Instructed as sole junior for the Financial Conduct Authority in a prosecution relating to a deposit taking scheme;

  • An application to set aside fourteen account freezing orders on behalf of a company director;

  • Acting as sole junior for nine senior executive directors of a global parent threatened with prosecution by Companies House for failing to file accounts (ongoing);

  • Advising a multi-national on various matters of criminal and international law arising from the salvage of a celebrated wreck (ongoing);

  • Having acted for all sides in this field, Nichola is able to bring a comprehensive perspective, allowing her to ‘get under the skin’ of a case and to provide insightful, tactical advice in relation to every aspect.

Nichola advises companies on their compliance procedures and has unique experience of advising an international corporation engaged in global projects on the practical features of the ‘adequate procedures’ defence under the Bribery Act 2010. She has conducted cross-border investigations for both the prosecution and the defence. Her experience includes advising on sensitive disclosure. She is known for her meticulous preparation, her ability to assimilate large quantities of information and extracting the salient issues.

Nichola is an approved advocate for the Serious Fraud Office (B Panel) and a fluent Spanish speaker.


Called 2005; Lincoln’s Inn. Chairman of the Young Barristers’ Committee 2011. Publications of note: “All hail the Bribery Act – the toothless wonder” (Archbold News, July 2011) and “The Bribery Act 2010: all bark and no bite?” (Archbold News, June 2010).


Fluent Spanish.


Bar Council elected member, Criminal Bar Association committee member, Young Fraud Lawyers’ Association, Extradition Lawyers’ Association, member of the editors’ board of Counsel Magazine.


Sullivan Upper School; University of Sheffield (2003 BA (Hons) Law with Spanish); Nottingham Law School Bar Vocational Course, 2005 (Outstanding, first in order of merit).


Nichola has an avid interest in Hispanic history and culture.

Lawyer Rankings

London Bar > Business and regulatory crime (including global investigations)

Matrix Chambers offers ‘a large talent pool at several different levels of seniority’ and multi-disciplinary approach to enforcement proceedings. The set enjoys a strong reputation internationally, thanks in part to its strong work relationships with firms in the US and Hong Kong, as well as its extensive experience of engaging with foreign authorities the likes of the US DoJ; in addition, Tim Owen QC is also noted for his focus on offshore jurisdictions, including a judicial appointment to the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands. Another strength of the team lies in its representation of a mix of global companies, banks and financial institutions in fraud, bribery, corruption and money laundering investigations conducted by UK agencies, including the SFO and the FCA; Clare Montgomery QC and Alex Bailin QC remain among the country’s most highly regarded specialists in this space. In October 2020, the set expanded its market visibility in the financial regulatory space with multiple lateral hires, including those of Nichola Higgins of Doughty Street Chambers and former First Senior Treasury Counsel Richard Whittam QC of 2 Bedford Row.